Sanford Police Department (Florida)
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The Sanford Police Department is a police agency in Sanford, the county seat of Seminole County, Florida. It employs 140 sworn police officers alongside 24 other employees, and its Interim Chief of Police is Richard Myers, the former chief of police in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Appleton, Wisconsin. In March 2012, Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee took a temporary leave of absence during the department's investigation of the shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin, and Captain Darren Scott was named acting chief of police. Myers took over from Scott in May, 2012. In April 2013, Former Elgin, Illinois Deputy Police Chief Cecil Smith took over as the department's chief.
The department includes traffic, canine, investigations, neighborhood watch and other sections. It also sponsors an Explorer Program "to educate and involve youth in police operations, and to interest them in law enforcement functions". The department has a Citizen's Advisory Board which is chaired by Helen Mausser.
New Public Safety Complex
In November, 2010, the Sanford Police Department moved to a new $20 million, 76,000-square-foot Public Safety Complex, which it shares with the Sanford Fire Department and a five-bay fire station. Built to withstand 150 mph hurricane winds, the two-story complex also houses Sanford's emergency operations center. The police and fire departments have separate and much larger facilities with a shared atrium, and there is a public meeting room. The police department also has a room specifically to conduct voice stress analysis, a type of lie detector test, and the fire department's communication system is integrated with a new dispatching system in Seminole County. The building uses an integrated video surveillance and access control system from Genetec.
Sanford's Public Safety Complex is located between the city's Goldsboro Community and the State Farmers Market. At the time of its planning, the complex was considered part of Sanford's efforts to revitalize the Goldsboro area.
Shooting of Trayvon Martin
On 26 February 2012, Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old boy who had been visiting his father in a gated community in Sanford, was walking back from a nearby store. A civilian neighborhood watch captain, 28-year-old George Zimmerman, called Sanford Police from his truck to report Martin's behavior as suspicious. During the call Zimmerman left his vehicle to follow Martin and later there was a fight. Martin was shot by Zimmerman during this fight, ending it. The incident led to protests against the Sanford Police Department and national and international attention in the media, with race an issue in the case as Martin was Black and Zimmerman is a mixed-race Hispanic. On 22 March 2012, Florida Governor Rick Scott appointed a special prosecutor, Angela Corey, to take over the investigation.
On the same day, Bill Lee, chief of the Sanford Police at the time of the shooting, announced that he had temporarily stepped down from his position, stating "my involvement in this matter is overshadowing the process." Lee had received criticism for his handling of the investigation, and on March 21, the City Commission, including the mayor, passed a motion of no confidence in the police chief. On 23 April 2012, Lee offered a letter of resignation but it wasn't accepted by the Sanford City Commission. In May, 2012, former Colorado Springs, Colorado, Police Chief Richard Myers was appointed to lead the Sanford Police Department by City Manager Norton Bonaparte. In June 2012, Bill Lee was dismissed by Bonaparte, on the grounds that he had lost the confidence of the community.
||This article's Criticism or Controversy section may compromise the article's neutral point of view of the subject. (March 2012)|
Press reports have indicated a number of cases of misconduct by officers of the Sanford Police Department.
In 2010, a Florida Department of Law Enforcement report noted that Sanford police Officer Christopher McClendon had misused his official position by helping a car dealer recover cars from delinquent customers in exchange for having his own car payments forgiven.
In February 2010, press reports indicated one officer was fired, and another, Ned Golden, Jr., was suspended for two weeks after sending sexist and racist text messages on a department computer.
In January, 2011, the same Officer Golden was assigned to retraining after approaching a car of people at a gas station with a drawn gun. Officer Golden grabbed the car when it pulled away. He then claimed the driver of the car tried to kill him by driving away while he held on to the car. No charges were filed in the case. In August 2011, after an investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Golden was fired. The state report recommended he be charged with filing a false police report, official misconduct and assault with a deadly weapon. No charges were filed by the State Attorney's Office.
Officer Golden is the son of the head of the local police union.
In that same month, the chief of the department, Brian Tooley, took an early retirement as a result of an incident involving one of his officer’s sons. Justin Collison was involved in a fistfight caught on video tape. Press reports indicate Collison, the son of a police lieutenant, may have received preferential treatment by the Sanford Police Department.
In April 2011, Officer DeAnthony Shamar was fired when it was discovered he had used a boy scout as a proxy buyer in a drug investigation. In his nine years as a Sanford police officer, Shamar had been investigated by the department 25 times.
In December 2012, Officer Stephan Santiago was charged with leaving the scene of an accident after a chase that culminated with him driving his car the wrong way on the street, bumping off the curbs several times. Santiago passed a field sobriety test and the police department promised an internal investigation. The same officer had been involved in a barroom brawl in 2008.
- Gene Demby, Trymaine Lee (2 May 2012). "Richard Myers Named New Sanford Police Chief Amid Discord Between Officials, Cops". The Huffington Post.
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- . Chicago Daily Herald April 2013.
- Lodge 140 website. Sanford Police Department Fraternal Order of Police. Retrieved March 2012.
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- "Police Architect". Architects Design Group.
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- Wisniewski, Mary (March 24, 2012). "Rallies held around country for Trayvon Martin". Reuters. Retrieved March 25, 2012.
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- Hernández, Arelis R. (March 28, 2011). "Problem cops: State notes sharp rise in disciplined officers". Orlando Sentinel.
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- "Suspended Cop Part Of Influential Family". WFTV. February 2, 2010.
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- Shan, Janet (August 15, 2011). "Sanford FL Police Officer Ned Golden II Fired for Falsely Accusing Teco Livingston of Attempted Murder". The Hinterland Gazette.
- Synan, Mike (August 16, 2011). "Surveillance video released in Sanford Police Officer firing". FOX 35 News.
- "Florida police chief out over investigation involving lieutenant's son". CNN. January 3, 2011.
- Sanford cop fired over conduct in drug buy, by Rene Stutzman, Orlando Sentinel, 5 April 2011
- Sanford officer charged with leaving accident scene, WBDO.com, 4 December 2012